WHY DESIRE A PATH?

When I walked around as in my school, parks, squares or any kind of public places, I noticed people walking from out of the actually built roads. There are some bald areas on the grass which forms a path: they are called as ‘desire paths’. It wasn’t a very strange for me before I started to study architecture but now there are millions of questions that pops up to my mind: why people prefer to take another road and neglect the designed road for him? Are there any reasons why the road wasn’t built the way that people walked? If the human behavior haven’t been taking into consideration as a factor while designing the road, can we still consider it as a design? Well, I don’t think I know all the right answers but I have some guesses.
First of all, I think this is a very crucial subject which shows the human behavior on a landscape. Humans mostly use these desire paths to create shortcuts, to facilitate the road which means that the design road for the man is not the most efficient design, at all. Furthermore, if no one is going to use that road, it is nothing more than just an ornament. The orthogonal turnings of the roads are the places where desire paths mostly happens. Human being become impatient after a while so create its own design of the road. So, the design of the landscape architect also should take into account the function. (as I was learned from my professors) Here we observe the case where the usage of the client and the design of the architect doesn’t juxtapose. We can also consider desire paths as something unplanned: the directionality of the paths are affected by the aimed reasons of humans to reach a destination. So, even though a landscape is designed the most accurate way, the surrounding structures may have a part of the emergence of the desire path. Basically what I’m trying to say here is that when a human see his destination, even from far, he started to evaluate the quickest way possible to reach there. It has a lot to do with visual perception, too.
Each desire path coveys a different story and a solution to a design problem due to its reason of existence. I read somewhere that there was one university which has any roads the year it was built. The designer waited to see the tendency of its users (students, professors etc.) and then built the roads. Well, this little trick of post-constructing the path is a very clever approach because now the design is s 100% convenient to their users. The users re-designed the paths to achieve a high level of functionalism. An architect, or an architect-to-be should always keep a eye open to notice these kind of little bugs in designs to develop himself/herself a fully-grown architectural perspective.

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